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Enterprise, April 2010
On four occasions Dean Lanyon faced his mortality head
on -- once he was even read his last rites -- but each
time he confronted it, death backed down.
Now 42, Mr Lanyon confesses the thought he should not be
here still gives him tingles.
But far from letting his close encounters with the other realm
get him down, the exuberant father of two now lives each day
as if it is his last.
And he has packaged his remarkable story into a presentation
he gives to schools, government departments, businesses and
community groups across the country.
The main message he hopes to impart to his audiences, he
says, is to celebrate each day and focus on what you have, not
what you don't.
"One day I was 28 years old and in fine health and suddenly,
the rug was yanked out from under my feet and I had to fight
and claw to get back to where I was," Mr Lanyon said of his
third brush with death, the one that ultimately changed the
course of his life.
"Prior to that I was an engineer and working towards the faster
car, the bigger office, more travel, just more, more, more.
"It made me find beauty in everyday life. I love my two boys
and making sure I'm a good dad to them and I love interacting
with people and just celebrating each day.''
Mr Lanyon's first confrontation with death, his sister Jenni's,
came by way of a car collision when he was 18.
Late one Friday night in 1986 as he and Jenni, 21, travelled
from Melbourne to their home town of Boort, in north central
Victoria, Mr Lanyon briefly fell asleep at the wheel.
"We were almost home so I thought, 'I'll just push on we're
nearly there', I dozed off for a microsecond and awoke to the
sound of gravel,'' he said.
"Jenni was in the front passenger seat, the car skidded and
struck a tree right where she was sitting.
"I was thrown clear and knocked unconscious. When I came
to, I walked back to the car and Jenni was in the rear half, still
in her seat.
"Thankfully she wasn't disfigured in any way, it just looked like
"There were no cars coming either way. I just rested my head
on her shoulder and sobbed."
Shortly after his sister's death, Mr Lanyon deferred his
engineering degree and returned to the family home at Boort.
Carr ying a tremendous sense of guilt and instructed by his
staunchly Baptist parents not to grieve for Jenni, six months
later the weight became too much for his young shoulders to
"I HAD ALL THIS BUILT UP TENSION AND
ANGER AND GRIEF AND ONE DAY I WAS
OUT ON THE FARM AND I HAD THE
DOUBLE BARRELLED SHOT GUN.
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